Ann Rosenthal brings to communities 40 years experience as an artist, educator, and writer. Her art installations address the local manifestation of global concerns, including climate change, food safety, nuclear waste. Her work has been shown at the Andy Warhol Museum and the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh; Exit Art and the Hudson River Museum in New York; the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia; and Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren in Germany. Her most recent collaboration Moving Targets, with Steffi Domike, paralleled the plight of the passenger pigeon with that of the artists’ maternal lineage for the 2014 centenary of the bird’s extinction. The project was exhibited in whole or in part throughout 2014-15 in five venues and is detailed in an extensive exhibition catalog. (See the Moving Targets section of this web site.)
Ann’s essays and work on eco/community art have been published in several journals and anthologies, most recently in Regenerative Infrastructures (New York: Prestel, 2013); “Atomic Legacy Art” in the Women Environmental Artists Directory Magazine (September 2012) and the online, peer-reviewed Ecopsychology Journal (Winter 2012).
She is currently a teaching artist in an after-school program at Propel Homestead in Pittsburgh and is designing an ecoliteracy and art after-school program, LUNA (Learning Urban Nature through Art), with Penn State Center, Pittsburgh/4H for the Kingsley Association in the Larimer neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The program will be offered in 2016. She also teaches through Osher Lifelong Learning, University of Pittsburgh and in her studio. Ann has designed and taught numerous ecoart courses at several colleges and universities in the eastern U.S. She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. Ann owns an industrial building in Pittsburgh where she directs LOCUS – a creative commons where art, community and ecology meet.
Just as groups of people have been objectified throughout our human history, which has justified their extermination (as in the case of the holocaust), so too has nature been reduced to raw material for human culture. For change to be sustainable, it must first occur in the mind and heart. Thus my work raises more questions than answers, prompting my audience to dive deep and reconsider our relationship with one another and the non-human others with whom we share this fragile earth.
My work is informed by social and deep ecology and ecofeminism, which interrogate what has brought us to the Anthropocene epoch. This geologic designation reflects the lasting impact humans have had on the planet, altering the course of evolution in ways that will last tens of millions of years—a distinction formerly reserved for natural events, such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. I derive courage from the civil rights, women’s and environmental struggles of the last century. I know change is possible from the bottom up, because those before me have done it. The aims of social and environmental justice drive me forward.
I work primarily in 2D media, using both tactile and digital formats. The form and media is chosen to best communicate the content. My roots are in painting, drawing, and printmaking, which I am returning to after a decade of digital explorations. My works are often composed into installations, where various visual elements dialog with one another. I also work in communities and with youth, reconnecting them to their local landscapes and waterways.
Many of my works are collaborative, which allows me to expand my technical and conceptual scope. Beyond the practical, however, I collaborate to model what I believe is essential to our survival: As Barbara Ward asserts in a print that I own by artist Sister Corita: “We must either become a community or we will die.”